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Meeting Roundup: Area officials keep ranch ownership local, make progress on bypass project

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Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 12:00 pm

By Lauren Cabral

and Holly Wise

The Cove Herald

GATESVILLE - The Coryell County Commissioners declined to pass a resolution Monday supporting Parrie Haynes Ranch being kept under the management of Texas Parks and Wildlife, something Bell County Commissioners passed at their last meeting.

Commissioners reasoned financial support should be doled out carefully in light of state budget concerns. Commissioner Jack Wall said the park could be self-sustained, suggesting the possible sale of a few acres.

The ranch, located along the Lampasas River, consists of 4,500 acres and has public camping grounds and 25 miles of trails. It hosts youth camps throughout the year, and many attendees are from military families on Fort Hood.

A resolution supporting an application by MacDonald Companies for 2010 for the Copperas Cove Brookview Village Apartments L.P. to receive Housing Tax Credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Services was approved by commissioners.

The Copperas Cove City Council passed a similar resolution at its Feb. 15 meeting. The proposed 96-unit apartment complex would provide affordable housing to individuals ages 55 and older.

Commissioners voted to put a Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department truck up for sale as well. The proceeds from that will go toward paying for the department's new fire truck for the Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department.

Fire Marshal Billy Vaden, who evaluated the new truck last week in Wisconsin, estimated the vehicle will cost $480,000 after necessary tweaks are made. The city of Gatesville and the county will split the cost.

Judge John Firth announced Lone Star Legal Aid will be conducting client interviews for free legal representation in the Commissioner's Courtroom at the Coryell County Annex in Gatesville from 8:30 am. to 4 p.m. March 9.

Those eligible are low-income residents of Coryell County seeking counsel for civil legal matters such as landlord/tenant, social security, powers of attorney and consumer issues. For more information, contact Ed Mullikin at (254) 939-5773 or jmullikin@lonestarlegal.org.

Commissioners recognized Coryell County Engineer Darren W. Poe, who announced his resignation on Friday. He will be leaving his post to be the area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation's Gatesville Area Office.

The court also discussed the results of the 2010 Census, which showed a 0.55 percent population increase for Coryell County, which has a population of 75,288, only 410 more residents than it did in 2000. County Judge John Firth noted the growth of counties to the east, especially Bell County, which added 72,261 residents, and the slow growth of western counties meant voting districts would certainly need to be redrawn.

The court appointed 11 county citizens to the Redistricting Committee of Coryell County to review census data and recommend redistricting actions at its Feb. 14 meeting. The committee will meet in the near future.

Other actions taken by the court included:

Approval of a resolution approving an application by the Coryell County Crime Victims' Office for the Victim Coordinator and Liaison Grant program, which could grant up to $39,000 to the office for salaries and travel.

Approval to submit a Federal Communications Commission application and tower requirements to support emergency communications operations.

Commissioner Justin Latham was appointed as an alternate member to the Central Texas Council of Governments Executive Board.

Reappointment of representatives to the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee

Copperas Cove City Council

The City Council authorized City Manager Andrea Gardner to release $45.4 million to the Texas Department of Transportation for the construction of the Southeast Bypass at its Tuesday meeting, marking another step toward the reliever route's completion.

The council issued $5.49 million in general obligation bonds and $39 million in contract revenue bonds at its Feb. 15 meeting. The release of the funds to TxDOT was the next step in the process.

The total project has an estimated cost of $46.4 million, which the city issued as debt in January. Category 3 funds from the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization will repay $42.3 million while $1 million will be taken from Category 10 federal earmark funds.

TxDOT will be responsible for the upkeep of the route once it is finished.

The council also recognized the Animal Rescue Transfer Program Committee and the Animals and Fowl Review Committee, as well as city employees.

Employees of the quarter recognized at the meeting were Melissa Barlow, part-time library assistant and children's specialist at the Copperas Cove Public library, and Robert Browning, information system specialist II.

Employee service awards for March were given to; Patricia Dodge, police communications operator for 15 years; Walter Munsel, fire lieutenant and paramedic for 10 years; and Christine Mandanici, code and health administrative assistant for five years.

Councilman Frank Seffrood reminded citizens about the TxDOT public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday regarding future impacts of the U.S. Highway 190 expansion.

Councilman Gary Kent announced the street cleaning schedule was now on the city's website and encouraged citizens to take note of it, adding residents will have time to move their parked vehicles off the street.

Other items approved by the council included:

The purchase of a $145,342 roll-off truck and a $161,013 side-loader solid waste collection truck for the solid waste department.

An ordinance updating the electronic communications section of the city's personnel policy.

Mayor John Hull was authorized to execute a letter to appoint Tom Parrinello, solid waste superintendant, as a representative to the Central Texas Council of Governments Solid Waste Advisory Committee.

Lampasas County Commissioners

The Lampasas County Commissioners voted to take no action Monday on additional office space for the Lometa justice of the peace, a request made by Justice of the Peace Camron Brister at the last commissioners' court.

The 1,600-square-foot building is for sale in Lometa with a price tag of $80,000. The building and the three lots it sits on is rumored to have been a gas station at one time; commissioners wanted confirmation Monday that no fuel tanks existed underground before they moved forward with any decision.

Brister said the current office is 750 square feet in a rented space that costs $350 a month.

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